Rhetorical devices

Sarah Hughes uses several rhetorical devices to make the article “My seven-year-old son the boxer” more appealing and to engage her readers.

Allusions and direct references

Throughout the article, the writer uses allusions (implied or indirect references) and multiple direct references to support her arguments. 

At the beginning of the article, the writer directly references the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens (l.1) and Everyman Cinema on Baker Street (ll. 4-5) to explain the circumstances which led her son Oisín to discover a new passion for boxing. At the cinema, he sees the trailer for Creed (l. 8), a movie about the boxer Adonis Creed.

Oisín’s interest in boxing is emphasized as the writer lets her readers know that he wanted to go to Philadelphia and run up the Rocky steps (l.52). This is an allusion to the Rocky movies, which were set in Philadelphia, and the stone steps before the Philadelphia Museum of Art which became famous as a result of their appearance in an iconic Rocky scene.

Hughes then introduces her readers to her career as a reporter covering boxing events. She states that she never considered boxing herself “only because 25 years ago it was an unheard of idea for a girl.” (ll. 67-68). This is a reference to women not being accepted in the boxing world at that time and an allusion to sexist social norms. She references this again later in her article, as she credits Irish boxing writer Harry Mullan for supporting her “at a time when women sports writers could not attend the British Boxing Writers’ Club Dinner regardless of how often they wrote about the sport.” (ll. 88-92) 

She then references her interview with Laila Ali, which happened towards the end of Hughes’ career. This is also an allusion to the fact that the industry’s standards have changed, making it more inclusive. The writer includes some important information about Laila Ali: “was just at the start of a career that would see her fight 24 times, winning them all.” (ll. 95-97). Through this, the writer alludes to the fact that excluding women from boxing was unjust, and Laila Ali’s performance is proof of that. Moreover, other women are inspired to take up boxing because women boxers are allowed to participate – this is emphasized by the reference to Nicola Adams (ll. 216-221) and her achievements at the Olympics.

Hughes pays tribute to her memorable experiences by directly referring to fights such as Prince Naseem vs. Kevin Kelley, Lennox Lewis vs. Evander Holyfield, o...

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